01/29/2018 12:16PM

Schemitsch romps in WCH qualifier

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Five more players won their way into the World Championship of Handicapping in the last weekend of regular qualifying on DRF Tournaments. There was a stand-alone Grade 1 qualifier on Saturday and a Grade 1 on Sunday that also had the benefit of a week’s worth of feeders.

On Saturday, 14 players competed, and Robert Schemitsch won his $5,000 seat to DRF’s no-takeout online championship. The win was well deserved. Schemitsch, who finished with $82, nearly doubled up on his competition. In truth, the only collection he needed came in Gulfstream’s ninth, the Hurricane Bertie, when Jordan’s Henny scored from the back of the pack at 59-1. The Michael Tomlinson trained filly paid $120 to win and $24 to place, with those returns being limited to $64 in total for the contest.

Sunday’s event was the largest Grade 1 qualifier of the season, with 45 entries participating and the top four – Jason Avila ($99.60), Dennis Klein ($73.40), Edward Reidy ($72.40), and Ed Peters ($68.60) – advancing to the WCH.

Avila, recently seen as a coach on TV’s “Win Place Show” dinked and dunked his way through the contest’s first 10 races with four smallish collections. Then Forest Gator in Gulfstream’s 12th wired the field for him at 36-1, returning the maximum of $64 and putting him over the top.

Klein sputtered out of the gate Sunday and sat on zero heading into the ninth contest event, Oaklawn’s seventh race. From there, he made a Zenyatta-like run, catching Big Red Seven ($51.40 win-place combined) and following that up with place capper Little Miss Amy ($22) in the following race at Oaklawn.

Reidy, just recently profiled by Daily Racing Form for his success in WCH qualifiers, was at it again. He started strong with Madame Uno ($18.80) in Gulfstream’s seventh, got two small returns along the way, and finished with Awesome Gal ($42) in Oaklawn’s eighth.

Last but not least was Ed Peters, who was second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. He’ll be on one of the handicapping contest world’s big stages once again thanks to four collections, the longest of which was Awesome Gal, who allowed him to sneak past an unlucky Fred Morgan, who ended up fifth.

Also on Sunday, two players, William Alberg ($111.40) and Shawn Heron ($85), won their way into the Horse Player World Series on DRF Tournaments.

Contest action returns to DRF on Wednesday. Three events to highlight this week are the final Grade 1 qualifiers for the WCH on Wednesday and Thursday as well as Friday’s last-chance WCH event. All three of these games will utilize an all-in format where all picks must be in before the scheduled post time of the contests’ first races.

For Wednesday and Thursday, players put up $580, and 1 in 10 will win their $5,000 buy-ins.

Friday’s last chance costs $225, and one WCH seat will be awarded for every 26 entries. The game will take place in conjunction with a special video-streamed broadcast of the DRF Players’ Podcast, which will contain a preview of the weekend racing and strategy discussion. Look for it on live.drf.com or streaming on DRF’s Facebook Live.

It also should be noted that on Wednesday players can participate in a free game where they can start on their way to Friday’s last chance and also can play in the final $95 Round 1 contest to win into Thursday’s Grade 1.

Players also can buy in directly to the WCH Finals at drf.com/wch.